In the most recent episode of Jersey Shore, the usually laid-back Vinny Guadagnino walked out of the shore house after a bout of anxiety. It was a sad night for MVP — or RVP? — fans, but Vinny’s decision to leave partially inspired his upcoming book, Control the Crazy: My Plan to Stop Stressing, Avoid Drama and Maintain Your Inner Cool (April 17). Joining the ranks of published authors and cast mates Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and Jenni “JWOWW” Farley, the book will be a “prescriptive memoir” that doles out advice on how to handle anxiety as well as behind-the-scenes stories from Guadagnino’s life. Read on for Vinny’s tips on how to get out of a funk, his explanation for why he left the house, and which of his Jersey Shore cast mates may need to read his book.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What drove you to write Control the Crazy?
VINNY GUADAGNINO: I’ve been writing this book and putting this program together in my head for a while now. I’ve always wanted to help people that have been through the same thing I have or been through anything hard in their lives. It helps me when I help people. I’ve been putting it together for a long time, and making an outline and putting the small pieces together but then it wasn’t until I realized when I was going to have this moment when I left and everyone would actually see what I’m going through. Once it was put in the spotlight I said, “You know what? Now’s a great opportunity.” People get it, they’ll relate to it, and they know if they want to seek help or read a self-help book that they can relate to, then now’s the perfect time to let it out.
Have you had generalized anxiety disorder all your life?
I would say it started happening in high school. I was a happy kid, and I still am. My disorder really isn’t that bad. I just do have anxiety, but it manifested strongest in high school, and then it just took different forms throughout the rest of my life up until what people just saw [on Jersey Shore].
Were you ever hiding your anxiety during filming of the show before that moment?
Yeah, definitely. The book definitely explains things that I’ve never shared with anyone before, including that kind of stuff because it is like a memoir in a way. People will be like, “Oh, s—, really? I remember that.” It’s more like a prescriptive memoir though because every story I tell will also give real practical solutions to those problems.
How hard was it to leave the show?
For me, it was the hardest decision of my life because it just added more stress to my plate because not only was I feeling what I was feeling, now I had this whole new stress added — do I leave the show? It was kind of like a double-storm. Anxiety or not, deciding to leave the show is a huge decision because at this point we’re famous now, people are going to be talking about it, and I have fans who look up to me, so it was definitely hard.
Does fame add to your anxiety?
For sure. I’m not going to say that it matters — you can be famous or not and feel the exact same way. It’s just a feeling that you have inside, but part of the reason why I left was because of … You don’t understand. People think that we’re just kids hanging out on the Shore, but you know, it’s really more than that. It’s paparazzi, there’s people screaming my name, there’s crowds, and it just adds to it. That’s why a lot of celebrities — I’m no where near that level — probably end up getting houses in the middle of an island and living there.
Was writing this book therapeutic for you?
Oh, my God. Amazing, amazing, amazing. It was the drive that got me through what I was going through. There are multiple reasons why writing in general is therapeutic and things like that, hobbies and accomplishments — those are things I go through in the book. Just the fact that I get to help a lot of people. Ever since the show came out, more and more people reach out to me, like, “Oh, my God, thank you, I finally know I’m not crazy now,” “I’m know I’m not alone.” People who have been through it, and some people who have not been through it. A lot of people don’t even know what this is. That’s why I was happy to shed light on it. Sometimes you feel like this and you’re like, “What the hell is wrong with me?” The main message here is that I’ve overcome this. I’m not really an anxious person 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I go through sometimes and I use what I learn to overcome it.
Have your cast mates been supportive?
Yeah, cast mates are great. I don’t think they necessarily relate to it firsthand — maybe Deena, she gets it sometimes. Nobody can really relate to it unless they’ve been through it. It’s not a physical kind of thing. It’s not a broken arm or leg. It can be very easily mistaken for being homesick or a bad mood or a funk. But sometimes at points it can actually be a serious thing that requires therapy, that requires a change of your situation. It requires a certain kinds of tools that release serotonin to your brain, you know? That’s all part of my program to get better. The cast mates help, but they can only help so much.
Recently, you’ve spoken out against bullying and hazing — is that all part of this message you’re putting out there?
The root of the problem I have is anxiety, and it’s all derived from something — I’m just going to say it, some kind of sadness. It manifests in so many different ways and it affects people differently. People can be affected by bullying. Some people can be affected by hazing. Some people can be affected by loss of their jobs. Some people can be affected because they can’t score with girls. Or weight loss. Whatever it is. It’s all the same kind of thing that happens in your brain. Because it manifests in me so strong, I feel like the things that I know that I learned in my program can help anybody who’s ever been through a rough day. There are different problems but it’s the same way to get out of it. That’s why I feel the need not just to focus on anxiety but on everything. I do know how to get out of anything. If you can practice my program, there’s nothing that can ever bother you again. It’s this message that I give — you can protect yourself from anything.
But there’s fun stuff too, right?
It’s a feel-good book that anyone can pick up and read. If you are going through sadness or some tough times, it’ll definitely help you. But if you’re not, there’s definitely a lot of funny stories. You can only imagine the things I see on the show and in my life. It is humorous and I want people to know that. When I look for self-help books for myself, I used to be scared that I was going to pick up a book that would depress me even more. This isn’t that kind of book. I kept it light and practical, but it still has the same messages and it’ll help people.